12 May 2013
Officially today was meant to be a recovery day, and with the weather looking pretty bad I was half tempted just to stay in my tent; it was pretty cosy and I didn’t wake up properly until 8 o-clock, a record seeing as it starts getting light so early. Eventually I got up and grabbed a hot shower and breakfast, and checked in with reception for a weather forecast. Apparently today was going to be showery, but tomorrow could be worse. News from home also suggested I might encounter some sleet or even snow, as well as strong winds, oh the joy of Scottish weather.
This left be in somewhat of a quandary, however I decided it would be prudent to get at least some miles done today, back up the Firth of Forth but on the opposite side from previous days, and perhaps today I’d have a tailwind! I spent the rest of the morning relaxing, face-timing my brother, sister-in-law and nephew Seb, and updating my blog from inside of my tent, listening to the rain patter down. It always sounds worse from inside a tent than it actually is, most of the time anyway.
During a respite from the rain, I quickly packed up and got on the road for about 13.00, pedalling from Blairlogie down to Tullibody, then along to Alloa which sounds a bit Hawaiian but really isn’t. I found a great cycle path that went in the right direction so followed that, route 764, which goes all the way to Dunfermline. It’s Tarmac and with a tailwind I made excellent progress, which was a handy considering it was mostly raining, that quite light rain that drenches you slowly.
Unfortunately I got a bit trapped on route 764, which whilst follows the Firth of Forth as intended, doesn’t hug the coast and hence I missed out a few of the villages I wanted to visit, such as Culross, and the Kinkadine Bridge. Route 76 does hug the coast, but I missed this somehow, and it might not have been such a smooth ride anyway. Given the weather I wasn’t overly bothered and pedalled on to Dunfermline enjoying the quiet cycle path and lovely countryside, despite the rain.
With water starting to drip down inside my waterproof I left route 764 and entered the black hole of Dunfermline. At least my feet were still dry and toasty in my Shimano shoes, and I was very glad I’d spent the money on Ortlieb panniers which keep my kit completely dry. Dunfermline proved to be a bit of a trial, especially in the rain. I kept trying to escape but got drawn back in. After a while, and feeling a little dispirited, I stopped at a Subway and consumed a foot long chicken tikka sub with vigour. It disappeared pretty quickly and I could have probably eaten a couple more. After wringing out my cycling gloves and emptying a pocket on my waterproofs of rain – I’d accidentally left it open, I felt a lot better, and the rain even looked like it was stopping for a bit.
I’d originally planned to take it easy and stop in Dunfermline for the night, but decided to carry on as couldn’t find the campsite I’d originally set my sights on. I picked up the coast road again, the A921 I think, and passed through Dalgety Bay, Aberdour, and on to Kirkcaldy where the sun started threatening to come out. I pedalled on through Buckhaven, Methil and Leven, past more golf courses of which Scotland has many, and found a campsite in Lundin Links, the Woodland Gardens, run my Jan and Craig Young. It’s up a bit of a hill but was well worth it for the hot shower and peaceful campsite, with a recreation room I could chill out in, where I could also recharge my phone and iPad. At £16 it was a little pricey but figured it was a prudent idea considering the weather, and I really wanted a shower.
The site has separate enclosures for tents, affording some privacy, and wifi. Was nice to have a chat with the owners and a few others staying at the site, and I called a couple of friends to catch up.
I cooked up a large bowl of pasta (250g) with tomato sauce, cheese and Tabasco, whilst updating my journal, something I do every night as preparation for my blog, and to record things afresh in case I don’t have a decent Internet connection. Also had some fruit, ginger biscuits, more cheese, and some peppermint tea, mange tout. The weather was definitely brewing up something so I retreated to the recreation room to do some planning, before retiring at a sensible time. Went to sleep to the sound of rainfall and wind gusting, I was very cosy in my sleeping bag.
Scotland so far is great, but most definitely wet, and of course in places infested by goblins. I’m looking forward to seeing more of it and getting to less populated areas. Will need to pick up some more fuel for my Whisperlite as think some wild camping is on the cards, campsites are getting a little sparse in places.
Off to St. Andrews tomorrow, and then up to the Firth of Tay, probably stopping in the Tentsmuir Forest after a shorter ride. Did 56 miles today on what was supposed to be a rest day so I’m ahead of schedule. In fact I’ve totalled up 810 miles so far, an average of 68 miles a day, including rest days, so pleased with progress.
On the Garmin front I’ve emailed them concerning the Nemesis device and it’s failings, waiting to hear back. At the moment I can’t recommend them, but maybe they’ll sort a replacement.
Might be a couple of days until the next update, depending on where I end up, power and signal etc. At least I’m out of Goblin country now, touch wood, so just the trolls to worry about now, but I watched troll hunter so should be fine!
Fantastic effort. Hope weather improves and Goblins and Trolls ignore you!
Hi James, 810 miles under your belt and averaging 68 miles a day is AMAZING!! – I completed the Beccles cycle for life yesterday with my family – 50 miles in 3hrs 50mins and felt pretty knackered afterwards – really can’t believe how you keep going day after day doing more miles than this and on somewhat hillier terrain!! Keep it up and keep safe in troll territory, watch out for stowaway goblins in your panniers!! Enjoying your blog – truly an inspiration for any long distance wannabe cyclists!
Thanks Barbara, and well done on your 50 miler, good time. Most people can do what I’m doing if they put their mind to it, just needs training, some kit, planning and the hard bit which is time off work so you have to save up the pennies! It’s surprising how quickly your body gets used to cycling long distances each day. Just have to watch out for chafing!
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